The Best “Survivor” season 20 cast members came back from previous installments and were tagged as either Heroes or Villains to compete in a “Return, Revenge, Redemption” all-star version of the game. These veterans kept the drama high and the gameplay unexpected, delivering reality TV goods by providing a surprise winner, the stupidest move in "Survivor" history and the delight of watching heroes fall and villains win the day. Let’s review the best of reality TV’s long-running series of human drama, physical competition and social maneuvering on the island of Samoa.

The Heroes

  1. Cirie Fields This sweet-faced nurse from New Jersey never resisted backstabbing an ally when the “Survivor” game is on. She was voted out early because the other “Heroes” recognized the danger of keeping her on the tribe. Like many players, her greatest weakness was the fierce reputation she brought to the island.

  2. James Clement One of the toughest physical competitors to ever play, this three-time “Survivor” cast member busted a knee and forced his loyal tribe mates to vote him out. Before he left, his temper tantrums, competitive zeal and attempt to learn “banana etiquette” will keep him as a fan favorite for years to come.

  3. J.T. Thomas From one of the most universally loved players to the fan-chosen Dumbest Move of All-Time, this southern “Survivor” castmate maintained his smile and Southern charm. His ill-fated attempt to take control of the game led to the Villains ruling the game from start to finish.

  4. Rupert Boneham Famous for his tie dye shirts and fishing prowess, this hippie Hero fell more than a few notches in esteem for his bumbling game moves. After once winning a million dollars for being a “Survivor” fan favorite, he instead ensured only Villains played in the finals.

  5. Colby Donaldson No Hero better demonstrated how the mighty have fallen then the once-admirable Texan. He started “Survivor” season 20 having his manhoo taken by the goofiest player in the game (see “Coach” below) and then laughably ignored the sight of two women wrestling over the powerful Immunity Idol, so he could watch an old movie. Nonetheless, he somehow managed to be the longest lasting Hero in the game.  

The Villains

  1. Boston” Rob Mariano He may have started the season with a bad case of “cry baby,” but the reason he has been asked back more than any other “Survivor” player is his adept gameplay, his unbelievable ability to sway other players and his longstanding reign as challenge king. He left early but has already returned for season 22.

  2. “Coach” Benjamin Wade Symphony conductor, women’s soccer coach and relentless quoter of famous men, Coach Wade doesn’t so much play Outwit, Outplay, Outlast as keep the ridiculous alive on “Survivor” island amidst the starvation, backstabing and viciousness.

  3. Russell Hantz Having played three of the last four “Survivor” seasons, Russell has indelibly left his mark on the game. Love him or hate, he has instigated more surprises (and stellar ratings) than most of the other cast members combined. He’ll never win a congeniality award, but fans voted him their favorite twice in a row.

  4. Parvati Shallow Lovely to look at, lethal at gameplay, this charmer already won a million in another all-star contest, so her second place ranking on season 20 is a tribute to her ability to always make the best of every situation. This season, she confirmed her place in the “Survivor” pantheon by playing two idols at one tribal council and for her comic rendition of J.T.’s “love letter” to Russell.

  5. Sandra Diaz Twine She is the only player to have ever won the game twice and she never once bothered to play nice. Her best move may have been burning uber-Villain Russell’s famous fedora, but she certainly understands the “Survivor” game moves better than just about any other player.